To Buy Or Not To Buy?

Attending open houses is great fun for me; I like it for sport, much as I enjoy cruising the car lots to see if there are good bargains to be had. My wife, however, doesn't see it the same way.

We've come to the point where she's saying we have to decide to buy or stay where we are. And just when the rubber is supposed to meet the road, I find myself a bit reluctant. All this talk in my favorite news sources about a housing fall is making me second guess myself. Do we want to buy now? Can we afford to have our (mostly paper) equity disappear? Are we willing to stay at the new home long enough for the market to rebound?

These are questions you might want to ask yourself if you are thinking about buying. While it's true that timing the market is a fool's game (and many have lost their shirts trying to do it), you can also have blatantly bad timing. And part of me thinks that this might be one of those bad timing choices.

When I bought my first property, I bought at what turned out to be the top of the market. Since I was buying new from a builder, I bought over a year in advance of actually taking possession. By the time I moved in, it was already worth less money than I paid for it.

For the next 7 or 8 years, I raced to pay off the mortgage as quickly as possible. I was trying to ensure that I had less owing on the property than it was worth. It was quite a race at times, as that condo lost almost 20% of it's value, and I'd only put 10% down.

Now, the good news is that I eventually sold it for more than I bought it for -- it didn't gain a lot in value, but it did gain enough for me to feel as if I'd received some value for my hard work on paying that mortgage!

And now I have to decide again: to buy or not to buy?

Michael

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